Blanco Balling is a rising star you need to know. With his newest album KYNG BLANCO, the Nicaraguan-born, San Francisco-raised recording artist can rap in both English and Spanish, always putting on for his culture and heritage any chance he can.
His influences range from Mac Dre and San Quinn to Tupac and Lil Wayne, also the 17 Reasons album by Black-N-Brown Entertainment that showed him he could be a Latino rapper.
Describing himself as “diverse,” Blanco fondly remembers growing up in Elementary school with two best friends: one Chinese and the other one black. He states, “And I’m a Spanish kid, so just imagine,” with a laugh.
As the CEO of his own record label Northern Organized Recordz, Blanco recently unleashed his newest album titled KYNG BLANCO, a 15-track project spearheaded by lead single “Lil Vietnam” featuring Kap G.
The album was created and recorded in Mexico City and Nicaragua, inspired by his little brother’s death which fueled him to zone in and focus even more on perfecting his craft in the studio.
AllHipHop: You were born in Nicaragua right?
Blanco Balling: I was born in Nicaragua in Central America, but the country I was born in was at war. Pretty much my family had to move or otherwise we’d probably die. We went to the U.S., I lived in LA for a little bit, and moved out to Frisco when my little brother was born.
AllHipHop: How was it growing up in San Francisco?
Blanco Balling: It was great, I loved it. There’s no other place like San Francisco. It really taught me about the beauty in other people’s cultures and how much you can learn by being around people from all over the world. I really liked that about growing up in Frisco because it was a different experience than what the majority of Americans are used to. You usually have one subgroup that will take over and dominate a certain region, but in the Bay Area… I had a girlfriend one time, she was Arabic, Filipino, and Hawaiian.
AllHipHop: You listened to everyone from Mac Dre to Tupac to Biggie. What was it about these artists that resonate with you?
Blanco Balling: The first tape I ever owned ever was Tupac’s tape, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. I was a young kid, I forgot exactly how I came across it but I ended up owning it. I remember listening to it over and over. I’d remember people’s reactions to how emotional they felt. If you were having a bad day, it can make you happy. If you’re having a good day, it can make you upset. It had an impact on how emotions could play a big role in music.
AllHipHop: How did the 17 Reasons album by Black-N-Brown Entertainment affect you as a Latino rapper?
Blanco Balling: It was someone kicking down the door. I was a kid when that album dropped. I was 14 or 15 years old, it made me realize that I could do it too. I could make music too and have an impact in my community in a positive way.
AllHipHop: What was the turning point in your music career that made you want to do music?
Blanco Balling: You know, a lot of us work hard. A lot of us go to school to learn a trade or study a vocation that can land us a good job. For a lot of us, just hustling in any manner possible can put some money in our pocket. Fast forward to me achieving that and putting money in my pocket, I still didn’t feel happy. I was missing something, I didn’t feel complete. I began making music just to hear my voice, to play my own music on my sound system in my car. It felt better and better every time I made a song. I felt so good.
It’s that reward. You know, knowing that you can make something. That you can make art. That you can share emotions with someone. People now hear my songs and they say, “Dude, this is what I took from it.” Wow, that’s really what I was trying to convey. Or I wasn’t trying to convey that, but it’s interesting that you picked up on that. That’s the reward that I get from it. I’m already happy as far as I’m into music, because of all the circumstances that I’ve overcome just to get here. I’m one of the ones that should be dead, should be in prison for life, or should be on the run under investigation, instead I’m out of that and doing music. So I’m grateful for where I am.
AllHipHop: You say betrayal made you rap. Can you elaborate on that?
Blanco Balling: That was more of a clickbait. You have the Betrayal Made Me Rap, then you have the chick there so people maybe think that it’s a girl rapping, but it’s not. It’s clickbait content because it wasn’t betrayal that made me rap. There are a lot of things that really have walked me down this road where I’m at now. It’s seeing the team that I’ve put together, I can’t fail them. I got marketing guys. I got guys that mix and master. I got guys that give me features. I got a whole team and they’re counting on me.
Me giving up, it makes me think: how are they going to feed their families? I’m pretty sure they’ll find a way but at the same time, I like that responsibility. I like taking on challenges. I’m saying this because that’s one of the main reasons why Ima keep going because I got people that believe in me. Letting them down is like betraying who I am. That’s why Betrayal Made Me Rap, I can’t betray who I am. I found what makes me feel good.
AllHipHop: Talk about your new album KYNG BLANCO out now. What’re you most excited for?
Blanco Balling: I’m excited to see people’s reactions. I’m excited to break down doors and barriers that have basically placed Latinos and artists such as myself in… I can rap in English as well as anyone. The industry’s not ready for that. They still look at it as this Ritchie Valens effect or the Selena effect. They want me to sound a certain way, or they maybe want me to throw on a mariachi suit. I’m not sure exactly what they expect from me but I can’t give them what I’m not, so I’ma give them who I am. KYNG BLANCO is a testament to that.
AllHipHop: You made this project after losing your little brother, right?
Blanco Balling: Yeah, my little brother passed away last year on the 28th of February. He was in a car accident. The road was messed up and the construction people should have placed warnings and they didn’t. In order for him to dodge the pothole, he came into oncoming traffic and was immediately impacted into another bigger vehicle.
AllHipHop: I’m so sorry to hear that.
Blanco Balling: My family could depend on me. Me breathing, I could make sure that my little girl’s got food, her school paid and everything they need already covered. I started thinking when my little brother died, how am I going to cover my family once I’m dead? If I do meet an early demise or if I do within the next 5 years or whatever amount of time happens to no longer be here, I want my music to keep feeding my family. That’s how I look at it. Okay I have life insurance, they’ll be cool. But put money in the hands of people that may not manage it properly, it disappears. If I leave a tangible asset which generates daily, monthly, weekly like music, I can make sure that they’re okay, even when I’m dead. My little brother’s death really got me started in thinking that way.
AllHipHop: How was it making the album in Mexico City?
Blanco Balling: Mexico City is crazy! I also did record in Nicaragua.The level of violence that we experience here is not your average U.S. violence. Out here, the cartel drug lords really try to take high-ranking politicians out. Just imagine the Secretary of State being run up with 30 guys with assault rifles. Imagine that happening in the United States somewhere in Washington. Those are the kinds of things that happen here. It raises the standard of street cred that a lot of people look for and who has survived in that. Being a rapper out here makes me a target as well. Oh, you’re a rapper. You got money. Doing videos with a bunch of jewelry on, eventually people see that.
That’s why I say, how am I going to take care of my family? I gotta think about that as well because it’s a part of life. You can’t walk around acting like you’re eternal or untouchable. Rest in peace Drakeo, he was putting out good music and no one expected for what happened to him to happen. Especially at a concert where he’s being paid for. It’s in the blink of an eye. So living in Mexico and recording in Mexico City raises your awareness up to a point where if you’re head ain’t on a swivel, you could be someone else’s come up or lick.
AllHipHop: One thing you want people to get from the project?
Blanco Balling: I want people to understand that you can get far being who you are, regardless of what other people expect from you. That’s what the album is. I know that I could do a lot more numbers if I just focused on the Spanish. I know that I could do a lot more numbers if I just focused on English. I can really target a certain demographic if I focus on English: “oh yeah, this is an artist coming up. This is who he is and this is his crowd.”
Or the same thing for Spanish, but I take on the challenge and do music that I like to do. If people vibe with it, whether it’s a Spanish person that doesn’t understand English or an English-speaking person that doesn’t understand Spanish. If I can break down a barrier, and people listen to the part of it that they like, they’ll realize that KYNG BLANCO is for everyone. It’s not just a certain demographic or a group segment, it’s for everyone that maybe has good-natured feelings about growing up around a diverse community, such as the one I do.
AllHipHop: Talk about linking with Kap G on “Lil Vietnam,” what did that mean?
Blanco Balling: Working with Kap G was a trip because I’ve been listening to Kap G’s music since 2012. I’ve been a fan, I’ve been watching his movement. Getting to meet the guy was very beneficial for me because I really didn’t think that he’d be as humble and as good of a person as who I met. It was rewarding, especially for him to like my song and say “Bro you got skills. Keep going!” It was rewarding in that sense, where you get validation from artists that you look up to. Musically I look at Kap G like you’re a genius. For him to say “man, you’re on point,” it was very rewarding for me. Working with him was positive on many levels.
AllHipHop: What was the best experience from the video shoot?
Blanco Balling: Just being in a historical place. The place where we recorded at, I forget the name of the place but before the Mexican Revolution took place, they used to hold meetings there. It was an underground house. Well not really a house because it’s a big hall, but it’s part of Mexican history. Recording there made me realize that maybe in the future people will say I made history there too as well.
AllHipHop: Talk about the contest you did with the Suzuki motorcycle.
Blanco Balling: Oh yeah! The 750 sports bike. A friend of mine needed to sell this motorcycle and he kept hitting me up about it. I don’t even know, I already got a motorcycle. I got a Harley Davidson. I got a chopper. He said “come on man, I need the help.” Eventually I said alright, I’ll buy it off you. I was going to ship it down to where I’m at and ride it.
Since I had this album coming out, I thought man, I’m pretty sure someone will make a lot better use of it. The only thing they have to do is pre-save and preorder my album and they’ll enter the raffle for a chance to win that bike. Today, we’re going to do the raffle. It’s going to be raffled out so somebody will be named the winner wherever they’re at. I got people in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Central America, Mexico, maybe even Europe too that entered the raffle. I’ma keep my word and wherever they’re, I’ma ship it out to them. I’ll cover the shipping so they can get the bike.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio at all times?
Blanco Balling: Some Zaza, some good ass weed, water and no distractions. Unfortunately when I go to the studio, my boys will message each other. Before I know it, there are 10 to 15 people in there and it won’t allow me to focus on my craft because everybody just wants to kick it. So peace of mind is what I need to where I could focus on the music and not care about if there’s any drinks for everybody or who’s hungry or anything like that. Some good weed, some water definitely because some good ass weed will have you choked up, and some tranquility.
AllHipHop: Any goals for yourself at this point in time?
Blanco Balling: I got hella goals! But the most prominent one for me is understanding more about cryptocurrency and why it’s better to invest in that instead of the current currency which is government-controlled. I trade crypto, I own some Monero. I own some Solano. I own Bitcoin and Ethereum, but I want to start looking into music as an NFT and possibly buy some real estate in the metaverse.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let the people know?
Blanco Balling: God exists within. That’s where you will find him or her.